While not nearly as controversial as the national elections, the SVIA Board of Directors election held in October 2012 featured incumbents both retaining and losing seats, and the unanimous approval of a plan sponsor running unopposed. The field of candidates was especially strong this year with seven highly qualified candidates, three of them incumbents, running for only three service firm seats. The incumbents were Pete Chappelear of JP Morgan Asset Management, Jim King of Prudential Retirement, and Marijn Smit of Transamerica Stable Value Solutions. They were challenged by Nick Gage of Galliard, Bob Madore of T. Rowe Price, Jim McKay of Columbia Management, and Jessie Mohan of The Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd. The turnout reflected the high level of interest in the election, with 93 percent of voting members, 62 out of 67, casting ballots.
Jim King, an incumbent, received the most votes with 76 percent of the voting members supporting him. Jim was finishing his first year in a two year term as Chairman of the Board when his seat came up for reelection and he decided to run for the sake of transparency and simplicity. Jim brings a vast amount of experience with stable value funds to the Board and has overseen a growth of over 500% in Prudential’s stable value business during his 10 years with the company. In addition to serving the Association as Chairman, Jim furthers the Association’s goals by contributing to industry dialogues on capacity and on the challenges of the pooled fund market, and by leading educational initiatives for the plan sponsor and consultant communities through Prudential-sponsored webinars and events. He is also a common fixture at SVIA conferences; he opened the 2012 Fall Forum and Spring Seminar and closed the 2011 Fall Forum. In his previous role as head of the Communications and Education Committee, Jim helped lead Association communications on the Dodd-Frank legislation which culminated in the Association’s submission of information to the CFTC and SEC on the stable value contract study. Prior to that he oversaw SVIA’s response to Senator Kohl’s inquiry into stable value, and he continues to serve on SVIA’s Stable Times Editorial Board.
Marijn Smit was also elected to a second term with 58 percent support, and will continue his work as chair of the Communications and Education Committee. Marijn has been a constant resource for the Association, bringing his expertise from Transamerica Stable Value Solutions—a leading provider of synthetic GICs with around $60 billion in stable value products. Marijn has focused on a number of important issues during his time as chair of the Communications and Education Committee, including addressing capacity constraints in the industry and the implications of Dodd-Frank. He has also worked to improve and update the Stable Times publication and has ensured that SVIA responds quickly and efficiently to all media matters.
Nick Gage, receiving 52 percent of the votes cast for the third open position, was the only non-incumbent to win a seat on the Board, and though this is his first term on the board he has been serving on the Data and Research Committee for some time. Most recently, Nick has worked with the Data and Research Committee to ensure a consistent implementation of stable value fund reporting under the Department of Labor’s new disclosure requirements. He believes the SVIA plays an important role in facilitating collaboration not only among members, but among all those in the industry in order to address the challenges and benefit from the opportunities ahead. In addition to heading Galliard’s Client Portfolio Analysis team which is responsible for the portfolio strategy of Galliard’s separate account clients, Nick assists with servicing those clients. He is also a member of the portfolio management team for Galliard’s flagship stable value collective trust fund and he serves on committees responsible for manager oversight and investment contract review. Nick has been an active participant in SVIA activities since joining Galliard, continuing the company’s trend of SVIA involvement since the inception of the Association.
Joe Veeneman has also joined the Board as an unopposed and unanimously confirmed plan sponsor who will be continuing the IBM legacy as current Board member Ed Adams steps down. Ed Adams, CFA, is the manager of DC strategy at IBM and is removing himself from the board after his second term due to the fact that his responsibilities have been shifting away from stable value and more towards DC overall. Joe, also a CFA Charterholder and member of the CFA Institute, currently works as a portfolio manager for IBM Retirement Funds. He manages the fixed income and commodity asset classes, working with their $10 billion stable value fund which is part of a $40 billion Defined Contribution Plan. IBM has been a staunch supporter and active member of SVIA for many years, and Joe is looking forward to providing a plan sponsor’s perspective for the stable value community and helping to address the issues impacting the industry.
This is a tumultuous time for stable value funds with increasing press and tightening regulations on the financial industry, yet also a great opportunity. The current economic climate has highlighted the strengths of stable value funds and generated increased interest from plan sponsors and participants. Now more than ever SVIA needs strong and capable leadership. The Association is thankful for members on and off the board who contribute their expertise, guidance and financial support.